The Unconventional and Most Effective Ways to Protect Plant from Theft


Plant theft in the UK has cost the industry an estimated £400 million a year. In response to this large and persistent crime wave The Plant Theft Action Group (PTAG) has taken initiatives to stop the plight of plant theft from continuing and worsening. There are number of steps that have been taken from the manufacturing end of the spectrum straight through to the construction sites. Contractors, plant owners, and the like are encouraged to take any precautions possible to deter plant theft by any means. Leaflets on the subject have been published by numerous advisory boards including local police.

Steps Taken by Plant Manufacturers

The plant manufacturers understand how badly plant theft has affected the industry and has taken their own steps to try and thwart potential thieves. Manufacturers have:

  • Marked all equipment with 17-digit serial numbers.
  • Provided their products with immobilisation equipment.
  • Began to change “single key” operation for plants.

Steps Owners Can Take to Prevent Theft

Lately, owners have been taking matters into their own hands as well and are encouraged by authorities to do so as well. Some owners have taken it upon themselves to pain their plant equipment in different colours, like bright pink, in order to make the equipment less attractive to thieves since pink equipment will be harder to sell on the black market. Police recommend painting equipment but suggest corporate colours to declare ownership. That’s fine if you own the equipment, but if you are leasing from a company like Lagan Plant, that option isn’t available.

The authorities also recommend that owners label parts with unique numbers (label each individual part). This will allow police to identify the parts if the equipment is stripped down after it’s stolen. Police also recommend:

  • Fitting equipment with secure plates that bear the company’s name, telephone number, and other details.
  • Recording equipment and attachments in an asset register with a known database (like the CESAR – Construction Equipment Security and Registration scheme)
  • Marking and registering agricultural equipment with a known registration company.

Things to do on Site

There are precautions that site owners and workers can take in order to prevent plant theft. Simple things from appointing a trusted employee to manage the equipment and securing storage areas on site can thwart would-be thieves. Authorities also recommend:

  • Displaying security posters on site.
  • Creating a list or manual of security practices for all employees.
  • Updating and reviewing security measures on site.
  • Removing ignition keys from all equipment not in use.
  • Utilising all security devices on site or install new devices (police recommend physical restraints or locks for steering mechanisms, booms, stabiliser legs, hitches, tracks/wheels hydraulic locks, ).
  • Securing fencing around the site.
  • Setting up security lighting, alarms, and CCTV.
  • Hiring security guards.

Other Techniques to Protect Plant Equipment

There are plenty of times when your equipment is left vulnerable to theft. One of those times is when the plant equipment is being moved from the depot to the site in question. In order to prevent theft during this time police recommend:

  • Giving the driver a conveyance note that outlines full delivery instructions along with a contact number.
  • Assigning a person to receive the equipment and instructing the driver to only release the equipment to that person and get them to sign a receipt.
  • Asking drivers to confirm any changed with the dispatcher or with someone at the delivery site.
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